Oregon State left-handed pitcher Luke Heimlich — one of the nation’s top hurler, who also pleaded guilty as a teenager five years ago to molesting a 6-year-old girl — has not been picked after the first 10 rounds of the MLB draft were completed on Tuesday.
Heimlich, originally projected as a third- or fourth-round pick, was asked to be excused from the team last weekend after a story detailing his criminal history was reported by The Oregonian/Oregon Live last Thursday.
Heimlich was 11-1 with a 0.76 ERA for top-ranked Oregon State, which will play in the College World Series without him.
In taking leave of the team, Heimlich said in the statement that he didn’t want to be a distraction to the team.
"I’m so proud of our team’s accomplishment and don’t want to be a distraction therefore I’ve respectfully requested to be excused from playing at this time," Heimlich said.
He also said, "I have taken responsibility for my conduct when I was a teenager."
The Oregonian learned about Heimlich’s 2012 conviction while doing a routine background check before running a profile on him.
Prosecutors initially charged Heimlich with two counts of molestation for abuse that began when the girl was 4, The Oregonian said.
Heimlich ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of molestation between February 2011 and December 2011, a period during which he was 15. Prosecutors dismissed the other charge as part of a plea bargain.
"As a 16-year-old I was placed on juvenile court probation and ordered to participate in an individual counseling program. I’m grateful for the counseling I received and since then I realized the only way forward was to work each day on becoming the best person, community member and student I can possibly be," Heimlich added in the statement. "I understand many people now see me differently but I hope I can eventually be judged by the person I am today."
With the Associated Press